Dougal James MacKenzie III|
Ever engaged with the world, politics and technology with an active and inquisitive mind, 'Jim' MacKenzie died March 10, 2013 in Monroe, WA with family at his side.
Jim's interest and expertise in the telecommunications industry spanned over 50 years. Born March 9, 1927 in Chicago, Jim was raised by his grandmother in Faribault, MN. In his youth, he had a strong interest in understanding how things worked and spent countless hours tinkering with electronic gear, radios, motors, anything he could take apart and put back together. He attended Shattuck-St Mary's Academy through 9th grade then transferred to public Faribault High School. In 1944, his senior year, he was 1 of 3 students singled out to take the 'Eddy Test' developed by the Navy, as a means of identifying individuals with the capability and aptitude for being trained as electronics maintenance technicians in the U.S Navy. He passed the prestigious test and went on to serve as a radio technician petty officer aboard the USS Ocelot, the flagship of Service Squadron 10 in the Pacific during WWII.
After his term in the Navy, he studied electrical engineering at the University of Minnesota. He left school in 1948 to pursue his interest in radio and television broadcast engineering. He acquired his commercial first class radiotelephone broadcast technician license and began working as an engineer and announcer at Faribault's KDHL radio station. 1949-1951 he was hired by St. Paul's KSTP as a radio and television broadcast engineer.
In 1948 he met Gayle (Bunny) Hofdahl who would become his wife and partner for 61 years. In 1951 Bunny and Jim were married and 3 days later, loaded up their convertible and moved to Richland, WA where Jim had been hired by Hanford Atomic Energy works as an Electronics Instrument Technician. The bureaucracy and politics of the organization forever soured him on working for a big corporation. While at Hanford, he was also working evening shift at Richland's KALE as chief engineer.
In 1953, he was hired as engineer/technician for one of the earliest cable television systems in the country at Pasco/Kennewick, WA. For him, this would be the beginning of an exciting and pioneering time as the burgeoning cable television industry was in its infancy.
The MacKenzie's, including son, Dougal, born in 1952, moved to Bellevue, WA and from 1955-1970, Jim enjoyed a career as co-founder and partner of Televue Systems, owner/operator of cable systems on the west coast. He also managed the local CATV system until the sale of Televue to CBS, which subsequently spun off as Viacom. During this time, daughter Susan was born in 1957 and son Scott in 1964.
From 1970-1998 Jim exercised his entrepreneurial spirit to start 3 businesses related to the cable industry. MetroData Corp., Executdata Corp. and Datatrack Network Inc. Datatrack eventually re-developed as a web-based software application for subscribers that delivered high-speed stock quotes to individual investors.
Jim was an experienced boater and took his family on many wonderful and memorable boat trips aboard the 'Scott Free' to the San Juan's and Desolation Sound. He also enjoyed building and flying RC airplanes as a hobby for many years. He was an avid reader and always knowledgeable about current events and world politics. He was perpetually interested in new technology and always appreciated well-designed devices.
Although he suffered from health complications over the last 2 years due to a fall, his sheer will, perseverance and love of life kept him with us through several brushes with death. He loved his wife dearly and his children and grandchildren. He truly had a beautiful mind and is missed everyday.
He is survived by his loving wife Bunny, son Dougal James MacKenzie IV (Anie), daughter Susan MacKenzie (Dick Crabb),
son Scott MacKenzie, grand-daughters Alison Crabb and Khayla MacKenzie, Grandsons Dougal (V) and James MacKenzie, and cousin Susan Stompe (Novato CA).
A family gathering to celebrate Jim's life is being planned for May when his eldest son returns from Malaysia.
Remembrances can be made to the
Sign Jim's online guestbook at www.legacy.com
Published in The Seattle Times on Mar. 31, 2013